Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 263
Because this piece is an essay instead of a story, there are not really characters. However, Sir Philip Sidney starts the piece with an anecdote to explain his reason for writing the essay. He describes how he and Edward Wotton wanted to learn horsemanship while they were at Emporer Maximilian II's court, so they sought out John Pietro Pugliano, who was the stablemaster of the court. Not only did Pugliano teach the gentleman about horsemanship, he also sought to persuade them that horsemen "were the masters of war and ornaments of peace, speedy goers and strong abiders, triumphers both in camps and courts." Sidney was so impressed by Pugliano's passion for his trade that he was encouraged to persuade his audience of his own passion; thus, he wrote the essay "The Defence of Poesie."
There are many other names given in this piece, but Sidney uses them—poets, historians, and philosophers—as evidence for his argument. Sidney also uses these titles as hypothetical figures, lumping their occupations into one "character" to prove his argument that poetry is the basis for all knowledge in this world and the best form of communicating that knowledge. He concludes with this note:
I conclude, therefore, that he [the poet] excels history, not only in furnishing the mind with knowledge, but in setting it forward to that which deserves to be called and accounted good; which setting forward, and moving to well-doing, indeed sets the laurel crown upon the poet as victorious, not only of the historian, but over the philosopher, howsoever in teaching it may be questionable.
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